Premium Japan
from $9245
Duration: 12 Days
Experience Japan’s perfect harmony of ancient tradition and modern way of life on a 12-day Premium adventure through the cultural heart of the country. Tokyo’s soaring skyscrapers give way to Hakone’s mountainous hot springs, while Takayama delights with its Edo-era beauty and Shirakawa-go immerses you in charming countryside life. Discover the intriguing cultural diversity of Kyoto and a passion for peace in Hiroshima. Travel with a local leader who will share the rich variety of their country as you visit temples, castles, shrines and holy mountains while mixing with locals and experiencing the real Japan.
  • Marvel at the city lights of Tokyo during a guided tour, visit the sobering Hiroshima Peace Park and trace the steps of the Geisha around the alleyways of Kyoto.
  • Soak up Japan’s natural beauty in mountainous Hakone and catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji, stroll around the stunning island of Miyajima and be amazed by the Japanese alps in the ancient village of Shirakawa-go.
  • There’s no better way to get around Japan than the country’s famous railway system. Be impressed by the efficiency and ultra-modernity as you zip from place to place with your included 7-day Japan Rail Pass.
  • Get to know Japan’s world-renowned cuisine during a seafood cooking class, tours of vibrant local markets, a sake tasting session and a number of dinners at fantastic local restaurants.
  • Unwind among the beauty of nature at your feature stay accommodation, featuring mountain views, a traditional ryokan design, modern comforts and an outdoor onsen (thermal pool) overlooking the surrounding greenery.
  • Tokyo - Welcome dinner
  • Complimentary airport arrival shared shuttle bus
  • Tokyo - Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo - Shibuya walking tour
  • Tokyo - Meiji Jingu Shrine
  • Tokyo - Sumida River Cruise
  • Tokyo - Yoyogi Park
  • Tokyo - Hama Rikyu Garden
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji Outer Market
  • Tokyo - Tsukiji market cooking class
  • Hakone - Cable car/Ropeway
  • Hakone - Lake Ashinoko boat cruise
  • Takayama - Leader-led walking tour (with street food sampling)
  • Takayama - Showa Museum
  • Takayama - Shirakawago Village
  • Takayama - Morning Market visit
  • Hiroshima - Okonomiyaki dinner
  • Hiroshima - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Hiroshima - Miyajima Island day trip
  • Miyajima - Itsukushima-jinja Shrine
  • Day 1 Location: Tokyo
    Konnichiwa! Welcome to Japan. Your adventure begins in the country’s lively capital, Tokyo. A shared airport shuttle to your hotel is included – please see the joining point instructions in the Essential Trip Information for more details. You will meet your small group and local leader for a 6pm welcome meeting at the hotel. If you get to the city early, there are many sides of Tokyo to explore, from fascinating museums and world-class shopping, to neighbourhood backstreets lined with hole in the wall eateries and bars. After your meeting, join your new travel companions for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Tokyo’s food scene is undoubtedly one of the world’s best, and the city truly celebrates the art of eating well. Sample a range of regional and seasonal delights including handmade soba noodles, crispy tempura and yakitori. After dinner, you may like to experience Tokyo’s vibrant drinking culture and head to a local izakaya.
    Day 2 Location: Tokyo
    Bursting with contemporary urban culture and historic temples and shrines, Tokyo has so much to uncover. Exploring the world’s largest city alone can be a daunting task, but today your leader will introduce you to the old and new Tokyo on a half-day tour. Begin in the Asakusa area, one of the older and more traditional parts of Tokyo, often called the temple district. Here you’ll stop by Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple – founded almost 1400 years ago when Tokyo was nothing more than a fishing village. Browse the many interesting stalls filled with tasty treats, crafts and souvenirs that line the shopping street of Nakamise dori. Then hop aboard the Sumida River Cruise and see Tokyo from a different perspective. Your leader will point out significant buildings like the Sky Tree Tower, the Sumo Stadium and the Tsukiji Fish Market complex before you disembark at the Hama Rikyu Garden. Take some time to stroll along its sea water pond, the water level of which changes with the tide. Then jump on the metro to explore the buzzing Shibuya area. Check out one of the busiest intersections in the world before heading into a depachika (underground food hall) for a tempting array of Japanese treats. Afterwards, enjoy some peaceful bliss at Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine before diving into Harajuku district, the home of quirky youth pop culture. The rest of the afternoon is yours – perhaps take in history by visiting the outer moat and park surrounding the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo or see ancient treasures at the National Museum in Ueno.
    Day 3 Location: Tokyo
    This morning, get ready for a delicious experience at the famous Tsukiji Outer Market, where fresh seafood from Tokyo's largest wholesale fish market (recently relocated to a new site at Toyosu) is delivered and ready to sample daily. Your leader will provide insight into the underwater treasures that go into the local cuisine, then you will attend a wonderful sushi making class from a 4th generation sushi family to learn about the art and history of this Japanese cuisine that's so loved across the world. Learn how to make nigiri sushi and hand-rolled sushi, then enjoy your fresh creations for lunch. After learning some valuable skills to take home with you, you can join your leader for a short walking tour in the Ginza area and then enjoy a free afternoon in the city. Perhaps check out the Yayoi Kusama Museum for its amazing exhibits by the avant-garde artist (advance reservation required), browse high-end shops in Ginza, experience the theatre of a kabuki play, or create your own entertainment with some karaoke.
    Day 4 Location: Hakone
    Say sayonara to Tokyo this morning and board a train bound for the mountainous onsen (hot spring) town of Hakone. Away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Hakone offers tranquillity among stunning natural scenery. In the afternoon, take a cable car up the mountains to the sulphur vents of Owakudani, followed by a boat trip across the serene Ashinoko Lake. Enjoy spectacular views, and on a clear day, you will catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji in the distance. Later on, check in to the Susukinohara Ichinoyu, your feature stay accommodation for the evening. Here you’ll experience the design and ambience of a traditional Japanese ryokan without sacrificing modern comforts. Each room comes with a private onsen, and there are also larger public indoor and outdoor onsens that overlook the surrounding greenery to make use of. Tonight you’ll enjoy dinner at the on-site restaurants which serves up a feast of classic Japanese dishes, then after getting your fill, spend a blissful evening relaxing in your onsen.
    Day 5 Location: Takayama
    Today, travel to Takayama via shinkansen (bullet train), with a few changes along the way. Takayama is a charming Edo-period town located in the Japanese alps. Renowned for its traditional inns, sake breweries and tranquil atmosphere, this riverside jewel of central Honshu may well be one of the most enjoyable stops on your trip. On arrival, head out on a walking tour with your leader who will point out examples of beautiful traditional architecture as you explore the old part of town. Learn how the town’s isolated location caused it to develop a unique culinary scene. The area is particularly famous for Hida beef, which comes from a black-haired Japanese cattle breed that has been raised in Gifu Prefecture for at least 14 months. Stop off on your tour to sample delicious Hida beef sushi or skewers. Then pay a visit to the Takayama Showa-kan Museum. This is not your average museum – here you’ll find a celebration of pop culture from the turbulent period of Emperor Hirohito’s six-decade reign. Discover exhibits showcasing everything from kitchen appliances to karaoke machines. Enjoy a free evening and your leader will be able to point out some great restaurants to try more signature local food.
    Day 6 Location: Takayama
    Start the day with a visit to the Takayama morning market. The Gifu region is known for its production of high-altitude vegetables, and local women have been travelling in from the countryside to sell their produce for more than 600 years. Your leader will guide you through the market stalls selling colourful pickles, bags of miso wrapped in leaves, genkotsu ame (soy bean candy), preserved fish, spices, and the delicious marshmallow treat of owara tamaten. After some time to peruse the local treats, hop on a public bus and head to the village of Shirakawa-go, home to charming thatched-roof cottages built in the gassho-zukuri style. Learn about ancient countryside life with your leader and explore the fairy-tale village against the magnificent backdrop of the Japanese Alps. Enjoy some free time in Takayama after you return in the afternoon. Perhaps check out Takayama Festival Floats Exhibition Hall which has an excellent array of festival floats on display.
    Day 7 Location: Hiroshima
    Today you will travel by train to Hiroshima, a friendly and cosmopolitan city with a tragic past. Today Hiroshima is thriving – the city is full of distinctive cuisine, tightknit communities and a focus on promoting world peace. On arrival, head out with your leader for an orientation walk to familiarise yourself with the city. After working up an appetite, head to a local restaurant for dinner and try some of Hiroshima’s signature dishes. The city is renowned for its fantastic oysters and okonomiyaki – a delicious savoury pancake made with egg, cabbage, soba noodles and meat or seafood.
    Day 8 Location: Hiroshima
    This morning you’ll visit the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome and the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Your leader will share the devastating story of the fateful day in August 1945 when Hiroshima was attacked by atomic warfare. The dome was just metres from the atomic site and was able to retain its shape – serving as a reminder of the attack and now symbol of peace. The memorial park serves a similar purpose, and has museums, memorials and monuments dedicated to the memory of victims, education on what lead to the bomb’s use, as well as advocating world peace. After your visit, take a short ferry ride to the island of Miyajima. The island is home to the Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, known for its huge bright orange gate (torii) that rises majestically out of the sea. Miyajima is an ideal place for walking. There is the lovely Momiji Park from where it is possible to walk or take a cable car up to the top of Mt Misen. Return to Hiroshima for at evening at leisure.
    Day 9 Location: Kyoto
    As you speed north to Kyoto on shinkansen, you’ll stop en route at Japan’s most impressive samurai castle at Himeji. The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 samurai families, learn about their lives and look out over the castle grounds and the city below. Arrive at Kyoto mid-afternoon. Originally founded as Heian-kyo (literally 'tranquillity and peace capital') by Emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto had its golden age during the imperial court's heyday from 794 to 1185. Join your leader and walk around Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, and learn about the history of geisha culture as you explore old wooden teahouses and exclusive restaurants. It's a great idea to return here in the evening when it really springs to life. You might spot geikos (geishas) or maikos (apprentice geishas) with their elaborate dress and make up on their way out to events.
    Day 10 Location: Kyoto
    Begin your day with a city tour around some of Kyoto’s sights. Visit the extravagantly decorated Kinkakuji Temple, immortalised in Yukio Mishima’s novel 'The Golden Pavilion'. Afterwards visit Daitokuji Temple – the head temple of the Daitokuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism – built about 800 years ago. Take part in a short guided meditation session, then enjoy a cup of green tea while you speak to a monk about the philosophy of Zen Buddhism and the art of meditation, dedicated to finding inner peace. This spiritual experience will reveal a side of Japan that most visitors don’t get to see, and is sure to be one of the lasting memories of your journey. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy – perhaps check out the range of Urban Adventures we run in the city, or grab a bite to eat at the Nishiki Market, called ‘Kyoto’s kitchen’ by the locals.
    Day 11 Location: Kyoto
    This morning, head to Kyoto’s famed Fushimi Inari Shrine – known throughout the world as the ‘Path of the Red Gates.’ Take time to appreciate the quieter corners of the shrine, and if you’re feeling fit, a walk to the halfway point provides stunning city views. Continue with a short train ride and walk to the renowned Gekkei-kan Sake Brewery. With centuries of local history built into its beautiful wooden halls, Gekkei-kan is considered Japan’s industry leader in both the tradition and innovation of sake creation. A visit to the brewery and museum covers every aspect of sake creation – with full-scale historical artefacts in abundance and a chance to taste different types of sake at the end of your visit. The shop is also fully stocked with some of Japan’s finest sake should you wish to bring some back home with you! In the evening, celebrate the end of your adventure in Japan over dinner with your travel companions at a local restaurant sharing the authentic flavours of Kyoto.
    Day 12 Location: Kyoto
    There are no activities planned for the day and you’re free to depart at any time after check out at 10 am. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. We highly recommend spending more time in Kyoto to explore this great city.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    06MAR2022
    Return Date:
    17MAR2022
    9245NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    13MAR2022
    Return Date:
    24MAR2022
    9660NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20MAR2022
    Return Date:
    31MAR2022
    10045NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    27MAR2022
    Return Date:
    07APR2022
    10045NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    29MAR2022
    Return Date:
    09APR2022
    10430NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03APR2022
    Return Date:
    14APR2022
    10430NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    05APR2022
    Return Date:
    16APR2022
    10430NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    12APR2022
    Return Date:
    23APR2022
    10430NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    14APR2022
    Return Date:
    25APR2022
    10430NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17APR2022
    Return Date:
    28APR2022
    10045NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Premium Japan

    Trip code

    CJPJ

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2022 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Experience Japan’s perfect harmony of ancient tradition and modern way of life on a 12-day Premium adventure through the cultural heart of the country. Tokyo’s soaring skyscrapers give way to Hakone’s mountainous hot springs, while Takayama delights with its Edo-era beauty and Shirakawa-go immerses you in charming countryside life. Discover the intriguing cultural diversity of Kyoto and a passion for peace in Hiroshima. Travel with a local leader who will share the rich variety of their country as you visit temples, castles, shrines and holy mountains while mixing with locals and experiencing the real Japan.

    Style

    Premium

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Boat,Public Bus,Cable Car,Ferry,Metro,Bullet Train,Train

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    You will be expected to carry your own luggage, including while moving about busy public transport hubs to make tight connections, up stairs and escalators and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes, sometimes at a fast pace and in crowds. Good general fitness and mobility will play a big part in making your trip more enjoyable. Japanese cities are best explored by foot and public transport, so be prepared for a lot of walking each day you are in a destination! Many travellers are surprised how much distance they end up covering each day just seeing the sights. Bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to spend most of the day on your feet.

    Joining point

    The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon

    2-16-11, Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, 東京都台東区雷門2-16-11

    Tokyo

    Tokyo

    111-0034

    JAPAN

    Phone: +81 358263877

    Joining point description

    The Gate Hotel Kaminarimon is located in Tokyo's downtown Asakusa district and is located within 100m distance of several subway stations. The hotel provides immediate access to the historical sights of Asakusa and the Sumida River, as well as the main Tokyo hub of Ueno where Tokyo's main national museums are located. The traditional life of old Edo (the former name for Tokyo) can still be experienced in this part of Tokyo's central north-west.

    Joining point instructions

    A shared airport shuttle bus arrival transfer is included. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 30 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre trip accommodation booked through Intrepid. Please note that any late requests or changes may not be able to be accommodated, particularly during peak seasons. At both Narita Airport and Haneda Airport we use Green Tomato’s shuttle bus service. As this is a shared transfer you will stop at different hotels en route, dropping off other passengers. If you have advised your flight arrival details, you will be met in the arrivals hall after clearing customs by a Green Tomato representative holding a sign with your name on it. They will begin waiting for you 30 minutes after your plane lands and will wait up to one hour. If you cannot find your Green Tomato representative, please ask at the airport information desk. For additional information please see: http://www.greentomato-j.com/eng/shuttle/narita.php# http://www.greentomato-j.com/eng/shuttle/haneda.php For any other problems with your transfer on arrival, please contact our Kyoto-based operations team on +81 70 1771 5588. If you are making your own way to the starting point hotel, we would recommend using Tokyo’s very efficient public transport system. Please check the hotel website for details: https://www.gate-hotel.jp/en/asakusa-kaminarimon/access.html Taxis are available from both Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. From Narita Airport the fare will be approximately JPY25,000. From Haneda Airport the fare will be approximately JPY10,000.

    Finish point

    The General Kyoto Takatsuji Tominokoji

    187 Ebisuyacho, Takatsuji-sagaru, Tominokoji-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 京都府京都市下京区富小路通高辻下る恵美須屋町187

    Kyoto

    600-8602

    JAPAN

    Phone: +81 757463697

    Finish point description

    The General Kyoto Takatsuji Tominokoji is conveniently located in the downtown area of Kyoto, with about 8 mins walk to Shijo Subway Station. The hotel is close to Nishiki Market and Teramachi Shopping Street, with plenty dining options. The hotel rooms are fully furnished to provide you a peaceful and relaxed stay in this ancient capital.

    Important information

    1. A complimentary airport arrival shared shuttle transfer is included, only valid if arriving on Day 1. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 30 days prior to travel, as we may not be able to confirm a request made within 30 days of travel. Only one piece of big luggage is included for the shuttle bus transfer. Additional charge will apply if there are more luggage to take on the shuttle transfer. 2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 3. We are currently unable to offer pre and post tour accommodation at our trip hotels in Japan. Should you be arriving earlier or departing later, please make your own arrangements at a hotel of your choice. 4. A 7 day Japan Rail Pass is included in the price of your trip (validated on Day 4). For those wishing to stay and travel longer in Japan after the trip, a Japan Rail Pass extension (total 14 days or 21 days) is available for purchase at time of booking. Please note that you can't purchase the rail pass or extension after arriving in Japan. 5. It is essential you pack light and compact for rail travel in Japan. One piece of big luggage is included for transfer from destination to destination on this trip. For any additional luggage to be transferred, additional charges will apply. There are size restrictions for luggage on Shinkansen trains if you plan to take them with you. Luggage over 160–250 cm may require an additional JPY1000 fee per train journey. Luggage over 251 cm will NOT be permitted on the Shinkansen trains. Please notify your group leader at the welcome meeting if your luggage is over 160–250 cm so they can help you make the necessary arrangements.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Premium leaders are Intrepid’s most experienced, with in-depth knowledge and extensive local networks to make it a trip of a lifetime. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. When not already included in your trip, your leader will be able to recommend a local guide service who can share more detailed or specialised information at specific sites should you be interested in delving deeper. Due to the rapid increase in tourism in Japan and in the lead up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics it has been necessary to go outside our traditional sources for employing tour leaders. As a result, our passionate, professional and trained tour leaders may either be Japanese or long term foreign residents in Japan.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    JAPAN Crime levels are low. It is generally safe to walk around at night and to travel on public transport, but you should maintain the same level of vigilance as you would at home and take sensible precautions. Reports of inappropriate touching or ‘chikan’ of female passengers on commuter trains are fairly common. The police advise that you shout at the perpetrator to attract attention and ask a fellow passenger to call the train staff. The Roppongi entertainment district of Tokyo is considered a higher risk area for crime.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. JAPAN VISA Most nationalities, including Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, EU countries and United States, are able to get visitor visas on arrival. The length of the visa will vary depending on your nationality, but most will be for stays of 90 days or more - check with your local consulate for exact details.

    Why we love it

    Marvel at the city lights of Tokyo during a guided tour, visit the sobering Hiroshima Peace Park and trace the steps of the Geisha around the alleyways of Kyoto.

    Soak up Japan’s natural beauty in mountainous Hakone and catch a glimpse of Mt Fuji, stroll around the stunning island of Miyajima and be amazed by the Japanese alps in the ancient village of Shirakawa-go.

    There’s no better way to get around Japan than the country’s famous railway system. Be impressed by the efficiency and ultra-modernity as you zip from place to place with your included 7-day Japan Rail Pass.

    Get to know Japan’s world-renowned cuisine during a seafood cooking class, tours of vibrant local markets, a sake tasting session and a number of dinners at fantastic local restaurants.

    Unwind among the beauty of nature at your feature stay accommodation, featuring mountain views, a traditional ryokan design, modern comforts and an outdoor onsen (thermal pool) overlooking the surrounding greenery.

    Is this trip right for you

    Japan is best to explore on foot. In fact, most travellers are surprised at how much distance they end up covering just exploring places on foot! Make sure your shoes are comfy and you are fit enough to spend most of each day on your feet. This trip travels primarily on public transport, as it is so efficient and convenient in Japan. Fast trains are used to move between cities, as well as public buses and metro. In order to make the travel easy, we have included luggage transfer (one piece of luggage) between destinations. But please ensure you are still packing light for the trip.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure. FOOD IN JAPAN The Japanese daily diet contains gluten (ie. in flavourings such as soy sauce) and seafood (dashi, or fish stock, is the basis of most dishes, even vegetable ones), so we highly recommend that vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs do their own online research before travelling about some of the options that might be available to them. While our leaders will assist you whenever they can, there may be some included meals that are fixed in advance and not flexible, such as those included at ryokans, and cannot be modified for different diets. For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, still your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic. Food and drink are such a high part of Japanese culture. Here are some links to get your tastebuds tingling: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/japan-convenience-store-food/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/traditional-tokyo-alleyways-locals-guide/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/eat-and-drink-like-a-local-in-japan/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/vegetarian-vegan-travel-japan/

    Money matters

    TIPPING Tips are included on all Intrepid Premium trips, covering hotel staff, local guides and the people who will take care of you during your travels. This amount does not include a tip for your leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your leader for outstanding service provided during your trip. You are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length and involvement of your leader on your trip. Tips are greatly appreciated as a gesture of thanks for their professionalism and leadership during your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline, US$3-6 per person (in a currency relevant for your destination), per day can be used. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. The official currency of Japan is Yen (JPY). Japan is predominantly a cash society and locals carry large amounts of cash for daily business. International credit cards can usually only be used at major department stores or large restaurants but cash from non-Japanese bank accounts can be withdrawn via the Cirrus and Maestro systems by direct debiting (as well as Mastercard and Visa cash advance). This is now available at all post office ATMs around the country, as well as 7 Eleven convenience store ATMs, making it very easy to get access to cash throughout the trip at each location 24 hours a day.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible, ensuring that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Help will be on hand in most locations, but there may be times you need to handle your own luggage, for example in airports and train stations. A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this trip. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, jacket, etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below is a link to our ultimate packing list, a guide to get you started:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    Climate and seasonal

    PEAK TRAVEL TIMES Please be aware that while travelling during major national holidays (late Apr to early May) and peak seasons in Japan (Apr-May/Sep–Oct) are fascinating and exciting times to travel, there are also some downsides. There will be huge crowds at most tourist attractions and on all public transport. It's common for there to be difficulties in securing train tickets at our usual preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic jams and changes to the itinerary without prior notice can be necessary. If you decide to travel during peak periods come with a sense of adventure and flexibility and we are sure that your experience will still be rewarding and memorable.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid’s Local Operator's Kyoto Office: +81 70 1771 5588

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel LOCAL CUSTOMS It's always a good idea to learn something about local customs before you travel, and visiting Japan is no exception. Your leader will be on hand to guide you through cultural differences during your trip, but here are some tips to get you started: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/etiquette-in-japan/ CLOTHING While Japan is known for its 'out there' fashions overall it is quite a conservative country. Please remember that we spend time at temples, working monasteries, holy shrines, recreated villages and castles, cooking schools and ancient gardens. At these places it is important to be respectful to the staff and other visitors by wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. WHALE MEAT We are big supporters of the protection of endangered species around the world. It is against our Responsible Travel policy for our leaders to take passengers to places that use cruel practices or supply or serve foods that are on the endangered species list, such as whale, turtle, tiger, bird’s nests, pangolin and shark. Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year. We do not visit places that serve whale meat on any of our trips, nor will your leader guide you to where it is offered. TATTOOS IN JAPAN: Please note, decorative tattoos are uncommon in Japanese culture and therefore you may receive curious and sometimes disapproving looks from locals. Generally, nobody will make a comment about your tattoos but please endeavour to wear modest clothing and check rules for public onsens.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available. AVAILABILITY The recent huge increase in tourism to Japan has put a lot of pressure on accommodation. On occasion, we may need to change accommodation from what is listed in the itinerary in order to operate your departure with minimal changes. ONSENS We like to encourage travellers to visit traditional Japanese 'onsens' while in the country as it is a quintessential local experience. In public onsens this means bathing naked with others of the same gender. While the experience can feel strange at first for some, most of our groups end up enjoying this activity. There is very specific etiquette for visiting onsens - your leader can give you some tips and instructions. Please be aware that travellers with tattoos may not be permitted to enter public onsens. Private onsens may also be available - talk to your leader for more information. See our guide to onsens here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/japan-onsen-guide/

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    Accommodation

    Hotel (10 nt),Hakone Feature Stay (1 nt)

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